District Judge Donald Mosley on Thursday questioned some of the felony charges against former County Commissioner Lynette Boggs and was skeptical about whether Boggs committed perjury when she claimed a baby sitter as a campaign expense.
At issue is whether Boggs lied when she listed $1,230 that she paid her toddler's baby sitter as a "special events" campaign expense.
During a hearing to discuss the charges, Mosley asked whether paying a baby sitter with campaign funds might be a legitimate campaign expense if the baby sitter was working while Boggs was campaigning, as Boggs has maintained.
"Can that be said, in good conscience, to be a false statement? It appears to me to be more of an opinion," Mosley said.
Mosley asked the two sides to file briefs addressing his concerns about the charges. He is to conduct a hearing on Jan. 25 to further discuss the case.
A Clark County grand jury charged Boggs with two counts of perjury and two counts of filing false documents in June. She is accused of lying in campaign documents about where she lived and about paying a baby sitter with campaign money.
Boggs has pleaded not guilty to all four counts.
With about 10 supporters behind her in the courtroom, Boggs sat beside her attorney, Gabriel Grasso, during the hearing. She said nothing during the proceeding and declined to comment afterward.
Grasso said Boggs listed the baby sitter, Kelly Mcleod, as a "special events" campaign expense because Boggs paid Mcleod overtime while she was campaigning at special events on weekends or during the evening.
"She (Boggs) listed, truthfully, that she spent X amount of dollars for Kelly Mcleod. That's a true statement. There's no perjury," Grasso said. "It's rationally impossible for this to be perjury."
Mcleod told investigators that she was paid to baby-sit Boggs' children.
Mosley asked whether Boggs' listing Mcleod as a "special events" campaign expense wasn't merely a clerical error or misinterpretation of campaign rules. He added that charging her with a felony seemed harsh.
"What kind of society do we live in where you make a false statement on a situation that arguably can be one way or another, and you make a mistake, and you have a (Class) C felony? Holy cow," the judge said.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Scott Mitchell said, "The grand jury believed, and the state is contending, what Miss Boggs was doing was trying to take campaign money to cover expenses that she can't spend campaign money on."
Boggs' writing off her personal baby-sitting expense as a "special events" campaign expenditure was akin to a candidate going to an ice cream parlor after a day of campaigning and paying for the ice cream with campaign money then listing the person who served the ice cream as a campaign worker.
There wasn't much discussion Thursday about the other allegation in the indictment: That Boggs lived outside of Commission District F, which spans the southwest part of the county.
Authorities said Boggs lived at 3646 Dutch Valley Drive even though Boggs declared in campaign papers that she lived at 6386 Grays River Court.
Investigators hired by the Las Vegas Police Protective Association and Culinary Local 226 conducted surveillance on Boggs last year and captured footage of Boggs picking up her newspaper, taking out trash and coming and going from the Dutch Valley home.
In her Aug. 28 grand jury testimony, Boggs said she split her time at both addresses. She added that the Dutch Valley home is about 50 feet from Commission District F.
The woman she claimed to be sharing the Grays River house with, however, disputed Boggs' claims. Linda Ferris, a former assistant, said Boggs rarely stepped foot inside the house, according to an investigator's report.
Boggs also told Ferris to rent the Grays River house to establish a paper trail and paid Ferris $400 a month in checks, the report stated. Ferris would then cash the checks and give the money back to Boggs, the report stated.
Contact reporter David Kihara at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 380-1039.